Holiday Shipping Dates at ScanCafe

Please note: customer service inquiries are answered fastest at We will also have special holiday customer support hours from 7am to noon, PT, on December 24th.

There are 4 kinds of holiday-related ScanCafe gifts that we can deliver by December 23, 2010, depending on when you place your order:

ScanCafe standard media scanning For orders of 5,000 standard media scans or less, holiday delivery is guaranteed if we receive your originals by November 8th. For orders of 1,000 standard media scans or less, holiday delivery is guaranteed if we receive your originals by November 17th. To ensure holiday delivery, you must also complete the review and checkout process within 24 hours of when your scans are online. Please note, orders containing non-standard media (medium format, large format, black & white negatives, etc.) may take longer and are not guaranteed for holiday delivery.

With Express Service, available as a small surcharge per order of 400 standard media images or less, we must receive your originals by December 13th, so that you can download your high-resolution scans by December 23rd.
ScanCafe Gift Card For physical delivery, order must be placed online by December 1. For electronic delivery, order may be placed as late as Christmas Eve!
ScanCafe Gift Box and Value Kit, complete For Gift Boxes to be completed and returned in time for December 23, we need to receive the Gift Box, filled with images, in Burlingame, CA by November 21st. For us to deliver an empty Gift Box (so it can be a present under the Christmas tree, etc.), we need to receive your order by Dec 10, if you plan on ordering it with regular UPS Ground shipping.

User Comments

  1. November 7th, 2010 Rick Grimes

    I’ve placed an order for delivery before Xmas using the discount code. However, when I completed the order it says they will be completed by January 14. When will I get them?

  2. November 8th, 2010 Joyce Moore

    I was wondering why it is saying I will not be able to view my images until January, 2011. I was hoping to get the CD’s for Christmas gifts. Is that not possible? Above it says that if you receive images by November 17, Christmas delivery is guaranteed. You received mine today. Please advise if they will not be completed in time for Christmas.

  3. November 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    That was a glitch, Joyce, with our online estimating system, which is now fixed. In fact, the original deadline stands, and you should be fine, if we received your order by the deadline of the 17th.

  4. November 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    Hi Rick,
    slight glitch with our online system. Fixed now. If we receive your order by the 17th, you’ll be fine for holiday delivery. Depending on where you are, however, you might want to ship it to us UPS 3-Day Select if you haven’t.

  5. November 11th, 2010 Wesley Scott Hawkins

    I ordered the Gift Box on October 23rd but did not receive the box until yesterday, November 10th. Why did it take 17 days to receive a simple box mailed from California to Kentucky. That is an excessively long delay for a simple box to be mailed. The cost of the shipping for the box was $20+ for a simple, up to 6 lb box. 17 days???

  6. November 14th, 2010 Sam Allen

    Hi Wesley,

    Your box was delayed a bit en route to you. Ordinarily, it would be much more like 5-7 calendar days. Also, keep in mind that your shipping fees on Gift Boxes are for THREE rounds of shipping–to you, with the empty box; back to us, with your originals; and then back to you again, with your scans and your originals. Thanks for your patience,


  7. November 22nd, 2010 russ liddle

    Hi, My order is complete, is it possible to send the DVD immediately and not wait until the pictures are being sent back? Trying to have a special album produced before Christmas.

    Thanks for your consideration

  8. November 22nd, 2010 Sam Allen

    Hi russ,
    not sure that would save much time. I’ve forwarded your note to admin@ to see what our CS folks can come up with for you.

  9. November 30th, 2010 Katherine Xavier

    Hi Sam,

    I ordered a gift card from ScanCafe and was disappointed with what I received in the mail today. Rather than the plastic card I was expecting, I opened the padded envelope to find a (torn) piece of paper on which instructions and a redemption code were printed.

    Two pages on your site include photos of your “gift cards”. One can be found here: . The other can be found here: . The piece of paper I received doesn’t look anything like either of them.

    As the CEO, I thought you’d want to be informed that it appears your company is engaging in false advertising, due to the fact that your site contains photos that are not a reasonable representation of the item that is actually on sale.

    Is there any way to rectify this situation? My preference would be for ScanCafe to send me a gift card that looks like the photos on your site.

    Thank you,
    Katherine Xavier

  10. December 4th, 2010 Curt


    I’m interested in the Express Service for Christmas delivery, but I don’t see the option anywhere within the checkout process. Clicking on the “Express Service” image on your home page takes me to a login screen rather than a page describing the service and it’s fees.

    How much does this service cost? (I’ve got two carousels of slides)

    How do I select it within the checkout process?

    If I ship on Dec 5, when should I expect my slides back?


  11. December 6th, 2010 Matt Carter

    My order was placed on October 22 and shows won’t be ready until after January. Did it get pushed back due to Christmas orders? I assumed – perhaps incorrectly – that I had ordered with plenty of time and well before the date listed. It now says estimated time to view scans is January 4. Please clarify as was for holiday gift to family.

  12. December 7th, 2010 Jacqueline Baer

    I love them all! They bring back such wonderful memories. I am a prof. photographer (retired now) These pictures bring tears to my eyes.——-I would like to order 3 DVDs—perhaps in time for Christmas ?

  13. December 7th, 2010 joe

    Buyer beware of scancafe… Scan cafe received my order on Oct 4th, with an estimated online date of Nov 29th. Its Dec 7th and my order still says “scanning.” I’m not sure how long QC and upload take, but I’m beginning to think that service is not scan cafe’s number 1 priority.

  14. December 8th, 2010 Beth

    I just received my email with the preview scans. If I confirm the order this week, can I get the DVD by Christmas?

  15. December 9th, 2010 Pattie Davis

    Just wondering when I will hear something from you? I know it says somewhere that I can track my order. I haven’t received confirmation that you received the slides yet. Thanks

  16. December 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    hi pattie,
    Best to check in on the website itself–that’s the latest source of data. Just log in with your password, and in the My Account section, under My Orders, you should see your order. click on it and you’ll get a nice chart showing the status.


  17. December 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    it depends on whether your order qualified for our Christmas delivery guarantee. In general, it’s best to hurry, though, for sure.

  18. December 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    hi Joe,

    I can’t speak to your case without knowing more (though our customer service folks certainly can, have you tried them?), but the most common reason for a difference between our estimated online date and an actual online date is that a customer may send us something different, or more, than what he estimated. (And it’s the estimate of what’s in the order that drives our estimate when we will get it scanned).


  19. December 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    That’s so great to hear, Jacqueline! As for getting physical DVDs in time for Christmas, it’s possible, though there would probably need to be some overnight shipping in there somewhere. (In a pinch, know that our discs aren’t copy-protected so you can make copies yourself. But for a gift you’d probably want our nice packaging, I understand. Have you tried asking our customer service folks? They can help.


  20. December 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    Hi Matt,
    I can’t say, without knowing more about your order. But yes, we do prioritize during the holiday season those orders that qualify for our Christmas Delivery guarantee. Have you checked in with our customer service folks?

  21. December 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    Express service is only available for orders of 400 standard media scans or less. That might explain why you’re not seeing it–if you enter an order of more than 400 scans, or an order containing non-standard media, then the Express service will not show on the order page. But go ahead and log in–or register, if you haven’t. It takes just a second and it;’s free.

  22. December 9th, 2010 Sam Allen

    Hi Katherine,
    You’re right, of course. We’ve caught all the errors you mention and corrected them, as of now.

  23. December 11th, 2010 Gail

    I just placed an order thinking I had missed Christmas, but could shoot for Valentine’s day. Once the order was placed, it said estimated delivery February 12 (which would not allow time to create a book). Is there a way to upgrade to Express Service at this point? If not, it would have been nice to see the estimated delivery before I placed the order. Also, the order status workflow that appears when I click on my order number makes it look like all orders are uploaded for viewing prior to shipping. Is that true?

  24. December 15th, 2010 marc bussiere

    i received an email saying that i could download my images in full resolution immediately because of a shipping delay for the cd . i have not received anymore information on how to do that. please advise

  25. December 17th, 2010 Lynette

    what happened to the promise of electronic downloads for orders completed before Christmas but not possible to mail out in time?

  26. December 17th, 2010 Sam Allen

    they are on the way, Lynette. If you received an email from us talking about electronic download, then you will get your download instructions after you check out. But impt: you must check out first. You won’t get the download opportunity until AFTER you check out.


  27. December 17th, 2010 Sam Allen

    It’s coming, Marc. But remember, you must check out FIRST before we can send you the download links.

  28. December 17th, 2010 Sam Allen

    Hi Gail,

    Yes, it’s true that all our regular scanning orders are uploaded online for your viewing prior to your finalizing the order and paying. That’s so you have a chance to review scans.

    As for upgrading your order to Express, I have forwarded your note to our our CS folks and we will see what we can do. A lot of that will depend on how many images were you in your order, and what kind, since our Express service is good for up to 400 standard media scans only.

    Best, Sam

  29. December 24th, 2010 John

    Hi Sam-

    I’m impressed that you address the negative comments on here and then leave it all up for people to see… many businesses would delete the comments and take the discussion “offline” to hide any negative feedback from the public.

    Having said that, I’m hoping you’ll indulge an annoying technical question from an IT guy. I’ve been through the “How It Works” but there’s not much detail on the “Uploading” phase.

    Where are the scans being uploaded to and from? From the PC they were scanned on to a server? Or from a server in India to a server in California? Or something else?

    Are they really actively being uploaded when the status says this, or are they waiting to be uploaded in some kind of batch process? Is there an amount of time I can generally take this phase to take?

    I ask because my status has been on this phase for at least 6 hours…. the guesstimate in my mind for the “uploading” of 800 or so pictures was an hour or two at most.

    (This isn’t a complaint, I’m just curious, and eagerly awaiting my pictures.)


  30. December 24th, 2010 Sam Allen

    Hi John,

    Glad you asked. This is a chance to brag a bit on our operations and IT folks. You see, this electronic-delivery-for-Christmas-idea was theirs. Once we got word from UPS that a lot of our regular planning around holiday delivery was going to be thrown way, way off, they took our existing electronic delivery (used only for Express Service orders, normally) and beefed it up dramatically. That required, among other things: tripling our in-house bandwidth temporarily, expressing hard drives directly to our data center in Fremont (Murphy’s Law, they got stuck at a stopover en route, costing us yet another day), deploying at the last minute an extra file hosting system (Amazon), innovating some undocumented features of our email system, and writing a bunch of new scripts to upload the files and process them for delivery to customers. On top of this, they are doing everything with a 13.5 hour time difference and the knowledge that Christmas is an enormously important holiday. So these folks, to put it mildly, are not sleeping much. With a little luck we are almost over the top, and while I haven’t checked our status system in the last few hours there is a good chance you, along with almost all of our Christmas delivery customers, have already gotten your download links.

    I won’t say we haven’t disappointed some customers (they deserve to be heard, and that’s why we generally publish their comments), but we believe we are on our way to 95% or so success on our christmas delivery promise, at least in its electronic incarnation. Not perfect, and not without a pretty bumpy ride in terms of unforeseen circumstances, but I feel very good about the way our ops and customer service teams have gone the extra mile.

    All that said, our preference would be to not have been in this operational situation in the first place, and next year we will of course simply assume the worst in terms of shipping delays and service provider letdowns, instead of, as we did this year, the average. That will of course result in a more conservative deadline for delivery, but with the benefit of hindsight that may well have been the best course.

    With best wishes for the holidays, and again our apologies for the delays,


  31. December 24th, 2010 John

    Thanks for the reply…. I can only imagine the challenges you are dealing with.

    (I don’t have my download link yet, and in 15 minutes it will be Christmas here… unfortunately it looks like I will be part of the unlucky 5%.)

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